What is CAM File

By Bester PCBA

Last Updated: 2023-09-25

Table of Contents

What is CAM File

CAM files are computer aided manufacturing files. CAM files, typically in the .cam format, contain essential instructions and data used in various manufacturing processes.

CAM, short for Computer Aided Manufacturing, involves the use of computer software and systems to automate and control manufacturing processes. In the PCB industry, CAM files serve as a bridge between PCB design software and the board house responsible for manufacturing the PCBs.

There are several types of CAM files used in PCB manufacturing. One important type is Gerber files, which are used for photoplotting. These files provide the necessary information for a photoplotter machine to accurately reproduce the PCB design onto a photosensitive material.

Another type is the NC Drill file, which controls an NC Drill machine. These files contain instructions on where to drill holes on the PCB, ensuring precise positioning for components, vias, and other features.

Additionally, CAM files may include fab and assembly drawings in soft form, also known as pen-plotter files. These files are used for documentation purposes and provide visual representations of the PCB layout and assembly instructions.

CAM files are considered the final product of the PCB design process, as they contain the data needed for the board house to manufacture the PCBs. They are crucial in transferring design data accurately and efficiently, enabling the board house to perform manufacturing processes such as step-and-repeat panelization for efficient production.

While the term CAM files generally refers to files used in PCB manufacturing, some PCB design software companies may use the term more broadly to include all plotter or printer files as .cam files. However, in the context of PCB manufacturing, CAM files specifically refer to the files used in the production of PCBs.

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